New Tai­wan quota lures main­lan­ders

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By PENG YINING in Bei­jing pengyin­ing@chi­

Tai­wan has be­come one of the most pop­u­lar travel des­ti­na­tions for main­land res­i­dents dur­ing the win­ter hol­i­day sea­son thanks to an in­crease in the quota al­lowed for tour groups.

The is­land’s tourism au­thor­ity has raised the daily quota from 5,000 a day to 8,000 be­tween Nov 21 last year and Feb 19 to cope with the grow­ing de­mand for travel dur­ing Spring Fes­ti­val, which falls on Feb 8.

The au­thor­ity raised the quota for tour groups sev­eral times in 2014 and al­lowed vis­its by tourists from more main­land re­gions. Res­i­dents in 47 main­land cities can now visit Tai­wan as in­di­vid­ual tourists.

As co­op­er­a­tion has strength­ened be­tween the two sides, cross-Straits tourism has boomed in re­cent years.

Zhang Hui, pub­lic re­la­tions rep­re­sen­ta­tive at on­line travel agency Ctrip, said the raised quo­tas had led to a 50 per­cent in­crease in cus­tomers to Tai­wan so far this year com­pared with last year.

In 2015, more than 4 mil­lion main­land tourists vis­ited Tai­wan, sur­pass­ing those from Ja­pan to be­come the big­gest spenders.

Tai­wan’s Eco­nomic Daily News re­ported on Jan 10 that each main­land trav­eler spent on av­er­age $232.15 a day in the first three quar­ters of last year, higher than the av­er­age of $221.45 spent by Ja­panese.

It is the first time that main­land tourists have taken the top spot since Tai­wan opened up its group tourism to th­ese vis­i­tors in 2008, and to in­di­vid­ual main­land tourists in 2011.

Tai­wan and main­land res­i­dents need visa-like en­try per­mits for cross-Straits vis­its.

Ni Yongjie, deputy di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai In­sti­tute of Tai­wan Stud­ies, re­fer­ring to Tai­wan’s lead­er­ship elec­tion last week­end, said, “The main­land has al­ways en­cour­aged cross-Straits ex­changes and co­op­er­a­tion, be­fore or af­ter the is­land’s political tran­si­tion.

“I hope the new (Tai­wan) govern­ment can con­sider the trav­el­ing de­mands of peo­ple from both sides and con­tinue to launch fa­vor­able poli­cies.”

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